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State Broadband Office Needs Help Correcting FCC Map

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COLUMN FROM STATE REP. KEVIN WALLACE

The Federal Communications Commission recently released a map indicating Oklahoma has 100% internet coverage. The State Broadband Office says that is incorrect and needs Oklahoma citizens’ help to let the FCC know.

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State Broadband Office Interim Director Kirk Martin says there are areas of Oklahoma that do not currently have access to internet services. Because of the bad information, Oklahoma may miss out on federal funding to help continue to push the development of broadband services.

The Broadband Office is asking Oklahomans to check their address at the FCC’s Broadband Map website: https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/home?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.

Here, they can provide accurate information to the FCC. However, it requires access to the internet to do so. Public libraries and other places that offer free Wi-Fi or internet access are good places to accomplish this task.

The deadline for submitting accurate information to the FCC is Jan. 13, 2023.

On another note, the US Treasury announced this week Oklahoma is a recipient of the State Small Business Credit Initiate (SSBCI), which puts funds for investment into the Oklahoma economy. This program gives small businesses in our state the opportunity to receive equity investments or low-interest loans to help grow their business by way of matching funds made available through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. This will be matched dollar for dollar by Oklahoma-based venture capital firms and local lending institutions. 

This is a great opportunity for qualifying businesses to access capital and address investment gaps that exist within our state and give entrepreneurs the chance to commercialize products. The Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology will use longstanding practices to award the funds to Oklahoma institutions. A portion of the capital will be used to help very small businesses, those with ten or fewer employees, and businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals including those in rural areas.

At the Capitol, I and other legislators have been busy working on legislation we plan to file for the upcoming first session of the 59th Legislature. Our deadline to request bills and joint resolutions is Friday, Dec. 9.

I’ve had more than a handful of constituent bill requests, which I’m considering. It’s helpful to remember, however, that just submitting a bill, doesn’t mean it will become law. Lawmakers must consider the overall effects of legislation and look for unintended consequences such as restrictions on personal liberties, costs to taxpayers, etc. We also have to work with other legislators and the governor to get bills passed and signed into law. This is why it sometimes takes years for an idea to become a statute. Still, it is important for the people to remain involved in this process. The government in the U.S. is of the people, by the people, and for the people. It takes everyone to accomplish government that best serves us all. I appreciate everyone who reaches out to me with their ideas and concerns.

If we don’t see each other in person beforehand, I want to wish each person in House District 32 a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Kevin Wallace serves District 32 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Lincoln County and part of Logan County.


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